Details with meteorologist Tyler Hamilton
Details with meteorologist Tyler Hamilton
WASHINGTON — Troops in riot gear lined the sidewalks, but there were no crowds. Armored vehicles and concrete barriers blocked empty streets. Miles of fencing cordoned off many of the nation's most familiar landmarks. Joe Biden was safely sworn in as president in a Washington on edge, two weeks after rioters loyal to former President Donald Trump besieged the Capitol. Law enforcement officials contended not only with the potential for outside threats but also with rising concerns about an insider attack. Officials monitored members of far-right extremist and militia groups, increasingly concerned about the risk they could stream into Washington and spark violent confrontations, a law enforcement official said. There were a few scattered arrests but no major protests or serious disruptions in the city during Biden's inauguration ceremony. As Biden put it in his address: “Here we stand just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work of our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground. It did not happen. It will never happen, not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Not ever.” After the deadly attack that killed five on Jan. 6, the Secret Service stepped up security for the inauguration early, essentially locking down the nation's capital. More than 25,000 troops and police were called to duty. The National Mall was closed. Checkpoints were set up at intersections. In the hours before the event, federal agents monitored “concerning online chatter,” which included an array of threats against elected officials and discussions about ways to infiltrate the inauguration, the official said. In right-wing online chat groups, believers in the QAnon conspiracy theory expressed disappointment that top Democrats were not arrested for sex trafficking and that Trump did not seize a second term. Twelve National Guard members were removed from the security operation a day earlier after vetting by the FBI, including two who had made extremist statements in posts or texts about Wednesday's event. Pentagon officials would not give details on the statements. The FBI vetted all 25,000 members in an extraordinary security effort in part over the presence of some ex-military in the riot. Two other U.S. officials told The Associated Press that all 12 were found to have ties with right-wing militia groups or to have posted extremist views online. The officials, a senior intelligence official and an Army official briefed on the matter, did not say which fringe groups the Guard members belonged to or what unit they served in. The officials told the AP they had all been removed because of “security liabilities.” The officials were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, confirmed that Guard members had been removed and sent home, but said only two cases were related to inappropriate comments or texts related to the inauguration. He said the other 10 cases were for issues that may involve previous criminal behaviour or activities but were not directly related to the inaugural event. The FBI also warned law enforcement officials about the possibility that members of right-wing fringe groups could pose as National Guard troops, according to two law enforcement officials familiar with the matter. Investigators in Washington were particularly worried that members of right-wing extremist groups and militias, like the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, would descend on Washington to spark violence, the law enforcement officials said. Some of the groups are known to recruit former military personnel, to train extensively and to have frequented anti-government and political protests. In addition to the thousands of National Guard troops, hundreds of law enforcement officers from agencies around the country were also brought into Washington. The increased security is likely to remain in the nation's capital for at least a few more days. ___ Associated Press writers Lolita Baldor in Washington and James LaPorta in Delray Beach, Florida, contributed to this report. Ben Fox, Colleen Long And Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson resisted calls for an inquiry into his government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic on Wednesday as the country's death toll neared 100,000 and his chief scientist said hospitals were looking like war zones. There have been calls for a public inquiry from some doctors and bereaved families into the management of the crisis. As hospital admissions soared, the government's chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, said there was enormous pressure on the National Health Service with doctors and nurses battling to give people sufficient care.
More than 100 British musicians, from Ed Sheeran, Sting and Pink Floyd's Roger Waters to classical stars like conductor Simon Rattle, have said tours of Europe by British artists are in danger because of Brexit. In a letter to The Times newspaper published on Wednesday, the musicians said the government had "shamefully" broken a promise to negotiate a deal allowing musicians to perform in the European Union without the need for visas or work permits. "The deal done with the EU has a gaping hole where the promised free movement for musicians should be: everyone on a European music tour will now need costly work permits and a mountain of paperwork for their equipment," they wrote.
Tuesday's Games NHL Winnipeg 4 Ottawa 3 (OT) New Jersey 4 N.Y. Rangers 3 Philadelphia 3 Buffalo 0 Florida 5 Chicago 4 (OT) Pittsburgh 5 Washington 4 (OT) Detroit 3 Columbus 2 (OT) Colorado 3 Los Angeles 2 Dallas at Tampa Bay — postponed Carolina at Nashville — postponed --- NBA Denver 119 Oklahoma City 101 Utah 118 New Orleans 102 --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published January 19, 2021. The Canadian Press
RCMP are investigating after a 25-year-old man died suddenly at a business in Brooks, Alta., on Tuesday. In a news release, police said officers responded to the business at around 11 a.m. The major crimes unit is investigating, and an autopsy is scheduled in Calgary later this week. While the investigation is ongoing, police said the incident is believed to be isolated and it's not believed there is any risk to the public. Brooks is located about 160 kilometres southeast of Calgary.
WASHINGTON — For more than two centuries, the top ranks of American power have been dominated by men — almost all of them white. That ends on Wednesday. Kamala Harris will become the first female vice-president — and the first Black woman and person of South Asian descent to hold the role. Her rise is historic in any context, another moment when a stubborn boundary will fall away, expanding the idea of what's possible in American politics. But it's particularly meaningful because Harris will be taking office at a moment of deep consequence, with Americans grappling over the role of institutional racism and confronting a pandemic that has disproportionately devastated Black and brown communities. Those close to Harris say she'll bring an important — and often missing — perspective in the debates on how to overcome the many hurdles facing the incoming administration. “In many folks' lifetimes, we experienced a segregated United States," said Lateefah Simon, a civil rights advocate and longtime Harris friend and mentee. “You will now have a Black woman who will walk into the White House not as a guest but as a second in command of the free world." Harris — the child of immigrants, a stepmother of two and the wife of a Jewish man — “carries an intersectional story of so many Americans who are never seen and heard." Harris, 56, moves into the vice presidency just four years after she first went to Washington as a senator from California, where she'd previously served as attorney general and as San Francisco's district attorney. She had expected to work with a White House run by Hillary Clinton, but President Donald Trump's victory quickly scrambled the nation's capital and set the stage for the rise of a new class of Democratic stars. Her swearing-in comes almost two years to the day after Harris launched her own presidential bid on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2019. Her campaign fizzled before primary voting began, but Harris' rise continued when Joe Biden chose her as his running mate last August. Harris had been a close friend of Beau Biden, the elder son of Joe Biden and a former Delaware attorney general who died in 2015 of cancer. The inauguration activities will include nods to her history-making role and her personal story. She'll be sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first woman of colour to serve on the high court. She'll use two Bibles, one that belonged to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the late civil rights icon whom Harris often cites as inspiration, and Regina Shelton, a longtime family friend who helped raise Harris during her childhood in the San Francisco Bay Area. The drumline from Harris' alma mater, Howard University, will join the presidential escort. She'll address the nation late Wednesday in front of the Lincoln Memorial, a symbolic choice as the nation endures one of its most divided stretches since the Civil War and two weeks after a largely white mob stormed the U.S. Capitol in an effort to overturn the election results. “We’re turning the page off a really dark period in our history,” said Long Beach, California, Mayor Robert Garcia, a Harris ally. As Democrats celebrate the end to Trump's presidency, Garcia said he hopes the significance of swearing in the nation's first female vice-president isn't overlooked. “That is a huge historical moment that should also be uplifted,” he said. Harris has often reflected on her rise through politics by recalling the lessons of her mother, who taught her to take on a larger cause and push through adversity. “I was raised to not hear ‘no.’ Let me be clear about it. So it wasn’t like, “Oh, the possibilities are immense. Whatever you want to do, you can do,'" she recalled during a “CBS Sunday Morning” interview that aired Sunday. “No, I was raised to understand many people will tell you, ‘It is impossible,’ but don’t listen.'" While Biden is the main focus of Wednesday's inaugural events, Harris' swearing-in will hold more symbolic weight than that of any vice-president in modern times. She will expand the definition of who gets to hold power in American politics, said Martha S. Jones, a professor of history at Johns Hopkins University and the author of “Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All." People who want to understand Harris and connect with her will have to learn about what it means to graduate from a historically Black college and university rather than an Ivy League school. They will have to understand Harris' traditions, like the Hindu celebration of Diwali, Jones said. “Folks are going to have to adapt to her rather than her adapting to them,” Jones said. Her election to the vice presidency should be just the beginning of putting Black women in leadership positions, Jones said, particularly after the role Black women played in organizing and turning out voters in the November election. “We will all learn what happens to the kind of capacities and insights of Black women in politics when those capacities and insights are permitted to lead,” Jones said. Kathleen Ronayne And Alexandra Jaffe, The Associated Press
The United States swore in its 46th President on Jan. 20, 2021. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris attended their inauguration in Washington, D.C. with a slew of distinguished guests, but few onlookers as the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a need for social distancing.Several past presidents were in attendance, including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George Bush Jr., however the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, did not attend. Trump flew to his golf club in Florida earlier in the day. Outgoing Vice President Mike Pence did attend the ceremony with his wife.For all the latest on the U.S. inauguration, click this link for live updates.
South Korea's LG Electronics said on Wednesday it was considering all options for its loss-making mobile division, which analysts said could include shutting its smartphone business or selling off parts of the unit. LG said in a statement that 23 consecutive quarters of losses in its mobile business had totalled around 5 trillion won ($4.5 billion) amid stiff competition. "In the global market, competition in the mobile business including smartphones has gotten fiercer," LG said in the clearest sign yet that it could be considering a winding down of the troubled business.
Thirty-five homeowners in the small B.C. community of Old Fort — just south of Fort St. John — are suing the province and BC Hydro after two landslides they claim were caused by Site C dam construction rendered their properties worthless. On Monday, the group filed a notice of civil claim in B.C. Supreme Court saying the excavation activities carried out by BC Hydro on the $10-billion dam project have destabilized the soil that supports their properties. The first landslide, which happened in September 2018, damaged the only road that provides access in and out of Old Fort and put the entire community under evacuation for a month. Another landslide damaged the same road in June 2020. The homeowners also accuse Deasan Holdings of causing soil instability with mining activities near Old Fort. Malcom MacPherson, lawyer for the plaintiffs, says the families involved cannot sell, mortgage or insure their homes because there is no property value. He says they support industrial development but don't feel they should pay for it with their homes' worth. "They shouldn't be de facto subsidizing the broader wealth creation, which is good for the whole province," he said. "It's not fair that they have to unreasonably bear that burden." In October, the B.C. government posted a report saying despite geotechnical assessments, the root cause of the slide in 2018 remains "inconclusive." The report doesn't address the slide in 2020. In 2018, BC Hydro said there was no evidence the slide was related to the Site C project. Last week, Premier John Horgan said Site C dam construction would continue while his office awaits geotechnical reports written by experts from outside B.C. The lawsuit names the province and the Peace River Regional District for approving the construction work of BC Hydro and Deasan Holdings. They are also suing the City of Fort St. John for operating a sewage lagoon they claim has led to soil instability in the Peace River community. None of the five defendants has responded in court. CBC News has contacted the City of Fort St. John, the Peace River Regional District and BC Hydro. The municipality didn't respond, and the other two parties declined to comment.
Alphabet Inc's Google is investigating a member of its ethical AI team and has locked the corporate account linked to that person after finding that thousands of files were retrieved from its server and shared with external accounts, the company said on Wednesday. Axios, which first reported the latest investigation around a member of Google's AI team, said Margaret Mitchell had been using automated scripts to look through her messages to find examples showing discriminatory treatment of Timnit Gebru, a former employee in the AI team who was fired. Gebru, who is Black, was a top AI ethics researcher at Google and was fired in December.
New York-listed Best Inc, a Chinese logistics firm backed by e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, is considering a sale as part of a strategic review, six people with knowledge of the matter said. With the endorsement of Alibaba, its biggest shareholder, Best has tapped financial advisers to explore options as its shares have been underperforming and are worth a fifth of its IPO price in 2018, two of the people involved in the discussions said. Billionaire Jack Ma's Alibaba, which owns 33% of the firm, as well as Best founder and CEO Johnny Chou, who has a 11% stake on a fully diluted basis, could both end up selling their stakes, five of the people said.
WASHINGTON — Stop. Stabilize. Then move — but in a vastly different direction. President-elect Joe Biden is pledging a new path for the nation after Donald Trump’s four years in office. That starts with confronting a pandemic that has killed 400,000 Americans and extends to sweeping plans on health care, education, immigration and more. The 78-year-old Democrat has pledged immediate executive actions that would reverse Trump's decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement and rescind the outgoing president's ban on immigration from certain Muslim nations. His first legislative priority is a $1.9 trillion pandemic response package, but there are plans to send an immigration overhaul to Capitol Hill out of the gate, as well. He's also pledged an aggressive outreach to American allies around the world who had strained relationships with Trump. And though one key initiative has been overshadowed as the pandemic has worsened, Biden hasn't backed away from his call to expand the 2010 Affordable Care Act with a public option, a government-insurance plan to compete alongside private insurers. It's an unapologetically liberal program reflecting Biden's argument that the federal government exists to help solve big problems. Persuading enough voters and members of Congress to go along will test another core Biden belief: that he can unify the country into a governing consensus. What a Biden presidency could look like: ECONOMY, TAXES AND THE DEBT Biden argues the economy cannot fully recover until the coronavirus is contained. He argues that his $1.9 trillion response plan is necessary to avoid extended recession. Among other provisions, it would send Americans $1,400 relief checks, extend more generous unemployment benefits and moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures, and boost businesses. Biden also wants expanded child tax credits, child care assistance and a $15-an-hour minimum wage — a provision sure to draw fierce Republican opposition. Biden acknowledges his call for deficit spending but says higher deficits in the near term will prevent damage that would not only harm individuals but also weaken the economy in ways that would be even worse for the national balance sheet. He also calls his plan a down payment on his pledge to address wealth inequality that disproportionately affects nonwhite Americans. He plans a second major economic package later in 2021; that's when he'd likely ask Congress to consider his promised tax overhauls to roll back parts of the 2017 GOP tax rewrite benefiting corporations and the wealthy. Biden wants a corporate income tax rate of 28% — lower than before but higher than now — and broad income and payroll tax increases for individuals with more than $400,000 of annual taxable income. That would generate an estimated $4 trillion or more over 10 years, money Biden would want steered toward his infrastructure, health care and energy programs. Before Biden proposed his pandemic relief bill, an analysis from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated that Biden’s campaign proposals would increase the national debt by about $5.6 trillion over 10 years, though that would be a significantly slower rate of increase than what occurred under Trump. The national debt now stands at more than $25 trillion. ___ CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC Biden promises a more robust national coronavirus vaccination system. Ditching Trump’s strategy of putting most of the pandemic response on governors’ desks, Biden says he’ll marshal the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Guard to distribute vaccines while using the nation's network of private pharmacies. As he said as a candidate, Biden plans to invoke the Defence Production Act, aimed at the private sector, to increase vaccine supplies and related materials. The wartime law allows a president to direct the manufacture of critical goods. Much of Biden’s plans depend on Congress approving financing, such as $130 billion to help schools reopen safely. Beyond legislation, Biden will require masks on all federal property, urge governors and mayors to use their authority to impose mask mandates and ask Americans for 100 days of mask-wearing in an effort to curb the virus. Biden also promises to deviate from Trump by putting science and medical advisers front and centre to project a consistent message. Meanwhile, Biden will immediately have the U.S. rejoin the World Health Organization. The incoming White House has tried to manage expectations. Biden said several times in recent weeks that the pandemic would likely get worse before any changes in policy and public health practices show up in COVID-19 statistics. ___ HEALTH CARE Biden wants to build on President Barack Obama's signature health care law through a “Medicare-like public option” to compete alongside private insurance markets for working-age Americans. He'd also increase premium subsidies many people already use. Biden's approach could get a kick-start in the pandemic response bill by expanding subsidies for consumers using existing ACA exchanges. The big prize, a “public option,” remains a heavy lift in a closely divided Congress. Biden has not detailed when he'd ask Congress to consider the matter. Biden estimates his public option would cost about $750 billion over 10 years. It still stops short of progressives' call for a government-run system to replace private insurance altogether. The administration also must await a Supreme Court decision on the latest case challenging the 2010 health care law known as “Obamacare.” On prescription drugs, Biden supports allowing Medicare to negotiate prices for government programs and private payers. He'd prohibit drug companies from raising prices faster than inflation for people covered by Medicare and other federal programs; and he'd cap initial prices for “specialty drugs” to treat serious illnesses. Biden would limit annual out-of-pocket drug costs for Medicare enrollees, a change Trump sought unsuccessfully in Congress. And Biden also wants to allow importation of prescription drugs, subject to safety checks. ___ IMMIGRATION Biden plans to immediately reinstate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which allowed people brought to the U.S. illegally as children to remain as legal residents. He's also planning an Inauguration Day executive order rolling back Trump’s ban on certain Muslim immigrants and has pledged to rescind Trump's limits on asylum slots. Additionally, Biden will send Congress, out of the gate, a complex immigration bill offering an eight-year path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. without legal status. As a candidate, Biden called Trump's hard-line policies on immigration an “unrelenting assault” on American values and promised to “undo the damage” while maintaining border enforcement. Notably, the outline of Biden's immigration bill doesn't deal much, if at all, with border enforcement. But his opening manoeuvr sets a flank with plenty of room to negotiate with Republicans. Biden also pledged to end the Trump's “public charge rule,” which would deny visas or permanent residency to people who use public-aid programs. Biden has called for a 100-day freeze on deportations while considering long-term policies. Still, Biden would eventually restore an Obama-era policy of prioritizing removal of immigrants who have come to the U.S. illegally and have been convicted of crimes or pose a national security threat. Biden has said he would halt all funding for construction of new walls along the U.S.-Mexico border. ___ FOREIGN POLICY AND NATIONAL SECURITY Biden's establishment credentials are most starkly different from Trump in the area of foreign policy. Biden mocked Trump's “America First” brand as “America alone” and promises to restore a more traditional post-World War II order. He supports a strategy of fighting extremist militants abroad with U.S. special forces and airstrikes instead of planeloads of U.S. troops. That's a break from his support earlier in his political career for more sweeping U.S. military interventions, most notably the 2003 Iraq invasion. Biden has since called his Iraq vote in the Senate a mistake. He was careful as a candidate never to rule out the use of force, but now leans directly into diplomacy to try to achieve solutions through alliances and global institutions. Biden calls for increasing the Navy’s presence in the Asia-Pacific and strengthening alliances with Japan, South Korea, Australia and Indonesia. He joins Trump in wanting to end the wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan, but thinks the U.S. should keep a small force in place to counter militant violence. Secretary of State-designate Tony Blinken is Biden's longest-serving foreign policy adviser and holds essentially the same worldview. Both are strong supporters of NATO. Biden and Blinken warn that Moscow is chipping away at the foundation of Western democracy by trying to weaken NATO, divide the European Union and undermine the U.S. electoral system. Biden believes Trump's abandonment of bilateral and international treaties such as the Iran nuclear deal have led other nations to doubt Washington’s word. Biden wants to invite all democratic nations to a summit during his first year to discuss how to fight corruption, thwart authoritarianism and support human rights. He claims “ironclad” support for Israel but wants to curb annexation and has backed a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians. He says he'd keep the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem after Trump moved it from Tel Aviv. On North Korea, Biden criticized Trump for engaging directly with Kim Jong Un, saying it gave legitimacy to the authoritarian leader without curbing his nuclear program. Biden also wants to see the U.S. close its detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Obama pushed the same and never got it done. ___ ENVIRONMENT Beyond immediately rejoining the Paris climate agreement, Biden has proposed a $2 trillion push to slow global warming by throttling back the burning of fossil fuels, aiming to make the nation’s power plants, vehicles, mass transport systems and buildings more fuel efficient and less dependent on oil, gas and coal. Parts of his program could be included in the second sweeping legislative package Biden plans after the initial emergency pandemic legislation. Biden says his administration would ban new permits for oil and gas production on federal lands, though he says he does not support a fracking ban. Biden’s public health and environmental platform also calls for reversing the Trump administration’s slowdown of enforcement against polluters, which in several categories has fallen to the lowest point in decades. That would include establishing a climate and environmental justice division within the Justice Department. Biden says he would support climate lawsuits targeting fossil fuel-related industries. ___ EDUCATION Biden has proposed tripling the federal Title I program for low-income public schools, with a requirement that schools provide competitive pay and benefits to teachers. He wants to ban federal money for for-profit charter schools and provide new dollars to public charters only if they serve needy students. He opposes voucher programs, in which public money is used to pay for private-school education. He also wants to restore federal rules, rolled back under Trump, that denied federal money to for-profit colleges that left students with heavy debts and unable to find jobs. Biden supports making two years of community college free, with public four-year colleges free for families with incomes below $125,000. His proposed student loan overhaul would not require repayment for people who make less than $25,000 a year and would limit payments to 5% of discretionary income for others. Among the measures in his COVID-19 response plan, Biden calls for extending current freezes on student loan payments and debt accrual. Long term, Biden proposes a $70 billion increase in funding for historically Black colleges and universities, and other schools that serve underrepresented students. ___ ABORTION Biden supports abortion rights and has said he would nominate federal judges who back the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision. He's also said he'd support a federal statute legalizing abortion if the Supreme Court's conservative majority strikes down Roe. Biden committed to rescinding Trump’s family planning rule, which prompted many clinics to leave the federal Title X program providing birth control and medical care for low-income women. In a personal reversal, Biden now supports repeal of the Hyde Amendment, opening the way for federal programs, including his prospective public option, to pay for abortions. ___ SOCIAL SECURITY Biden's proposals would expand benefits, raise taxes for upper-income people and add some years of solvency. He would revamp Social Security’s annual cost-of-living adjustment by linking it to an inflation index tied more directly to older Americans' expenses. He would increase minimum benefits for lower-income retirees, addressing financial hardship among the elderly. Biden wants to raise Social Security taxes by applying the payroll tax to earnings above $400,000. The 12.4% tax, split between an employee and employer, now applies only to the first $137,700 of a worker's wages. The tax increase would pay for Biden’s proposed benefit expansions and extend the life of program’s trust fund by five years, to 2040, according to the nonpartisan Urban Institute. ___ GUNS Biden led efforts as a senator to establish the background check system now in use when people buy guns from a federal licensed dealer. He also helped pass a 10-year ban on a group of semi-automatic guns, or “assault weapons,” during the Clinton presidency. Biden has promised to seek another ban on the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Owners would have to register existing assault weapons with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He would also support a program to buy back assault weapons. Biden supports legislation restricting the number of firearms an individual may purchase per month to one and would require background checks for all gun sales with limited exceptions, such as gifts between family members. Biden would also support prohibiting all online sales of firearms, ammunition, kits and gun parts. As with his public option plan for health insurance, it's not clear how Biden will prioritize gun legislation, and the prospects of getting major changes through the Senate are slim, at best. ___ VETERANS Biden says he'd work with Congress to improve health services for women, the military’s fastest-growing subgroup, such as by placing at least one full-time women’s primary care physician at each Department of Veterans Affairs’ medical centre. He promises to provide $300 million to better understand the impact of traumatic brain injury and toxic exposures, hire more VA staff to cut down on office wait times for veterans at risk of suicide and continue the efforts of the Obama-Biden administration to stem homelessness. ___ TRADE Biden has joined a growing bipartisan embrace of “fair trade” abroad — a twist on decades of “free trade” talk as Republican and Democratic administrations alike expanded international trade. That, and some of his policy pitches, can make Biden seem almost protectionist, but he's well shy of Trump's approach. Biden, like Trump, accuses China of violating international trade rules by subsidizing its companies and stealing U.S. intellectual property. Still, Biden doesn’t think Trump’s tariffs worked. He wants to join with allies to form a bulwark against Beijing. Biden wants to juice U.S. manufacturing with $400 billion of federal government purchases (including pandemic supplies) from domestic companies over a four-year period. He wants $300 billion for U.S. technology firms’ research and development. Biden says the new domestic spending must come before any new international trade deals. He pledges tough negotiations with China, the world’s other economic superpower, on trade and intellectual property matters. China, like the U.S., is not yet a member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the multilateral trade agreement that Biden advocated for when he was vice-president. ___ TRUMP Biden won't escape Trump's shadow completely, given the many investigations and potential legal exposures facing the outgoing president. Biden said as a candidate that he wouldn't pardon Trump or his associates and that he'd leave federal investigations up to “an independent Justice Department.” Notably, some of Trump's legal exposure comes from state cases in New York. Biden will have no authority over any of those matters. ___ Associated Press writers Will Weissert, Kevin Freking, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Ben Fox, Deb Riechmann, Collin Binkley and Hope Yen contributed to this report. Bill Barrow, The Associated Press
Jessica Henwick may be known to fantasy and sci-fi nerds, but she's about to breakout onto the mainstream.
“Enough is enough,” Premier Moe said during Tuesday’s provincial COVID-19 update, referring to a video taken over the weekend at a pub in Regina. In the video some patrons without masks dance and defy the Public Health orders. However, the government plans to stay the course with the current measures despite the continuing high seven-day average of new cases. Today’s average rebounded to 300 and remains the highest in the country. The current measures which were introduced in mid-December have been extended to January 29, 2021. The Premier said he does not want to roll out more restrictive measures, but did hint that venues which allow for the contravention of the public health orders may be facing more serious consequences. “I’ve asked public health to look at if there is [sic] other opportunities, in addition to fines, including closing these bad actors indefinitely.” Dr. Shahab asserted that the current measures would work if there was 100% compliance across the board, but obviously that isn’t happening. The province is “stuck”, Shahab said, in that 300 new cases per day range and obviously he would prefer that number to be trending downward instead. With baseline transmission so high, it continues to feed the growth of the virus and hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and deaths slowly but steadily are creeping up and increasing the stress on our healthcare system. Shahab has said that while the health system is not at the breaking point yet, when it gets there, the “hammer” needs to come down. “We may not be there yet, but that hammer is a very blunt instrument. It causes many unintended consequences, It’s not the preferred instrument but when the health-care system is on the brink of collapse, then unfortunately those desperate measures have to be taken as well.” The question that begs asking is do we really want to push the health system to that brink? Lang McGilp, Research Director of Insightrix Research Inc. says that surveys taken over the past couple of months show the longer the pandemic goes on the less people are inclined to follow the restrictions and that mental health is playing a part in that. Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder
The City of Edmonton will look at ways to make sure infill developments are done with minimal damage to surrounding properties. Council's urban planning committee agreed to the motion Tuesday. Coun. Ben Henderson expressed frustration that some residents are still victims of bad builders, with projects damaging their fences, landscaping, sidewalks, and interior and exterior of the house. The obligation is on the builder to rectify damages but that doesn't always happen, he noted. "We've been at this for a decade," Henderson said about infill projects and the need to enforce good building practices. "We've always said we don't have those powers and I think it's pretty clear we do. And I think we have to start using them." Historically, the city has left property owners to deal with builders to resolve issues. "It's just not fair to expect the neighbour to take responsibility," Henderson said. "Then to say that they have to go to their insurance company or go to a lawyer in order to deal with a problem I think we have the tools to deal with." The committee passed a motion to address the challenges. It directs city staff to explore the option of adding inspectors to assess excavations. That could mean adjusting the budget in the spring if more positions are added. They'll also look at more tools with more teeth to ensure developers comply with building and safety codes. That could include more fines, stop-work orders and beefing up compliance certificates. A compliance certificate is a report confirming that all buildings and structures on the property meet zoning bylaw regulations and have the appropriate development permits. Bev Esslinger, chair of the committee, said new housing in mature neighbourhoods is a major component to prepare for the growing population. "If we're going to build a city for two million people, infill's going to happen in many places, we need to make sure we get it right." Stephanie McCabe, deputy manager of urban form and corporate strategic development, said the majority heed the proper channels. "We have a number of good builders out there who are following the process." McCabe noted that the city would need more resources to inspect all excavations and that could add to the process for builders that are already heeding the regulations. Properties damaged The committee passed the motion after hearing from several members of the Residential Infill Working Group, which did a survey in 2020. Results show 79 per cent of respondents — 175 people in 41 mature neighbourhoods — said infill projects damaged or impacted their properties. The majority of cases were related to demolition and excavation, the survey shows. Those included vibrations to their home, excavated soil or debris spilling onto their property, excavations not being entirely enclosed by secure fencing and excavations on or beyond the property line. Diane Dennis, a member of the working group, presented the survey results to the committee Tuesday. "Only 14 per cent of our survey respondents were satisfied with the resolution of the issues," Dennis said. "Neighbours spent time, money and emotional energy on attempts to fix damage and other problems created by the construction activity." Bev Zubot, also a member of the working group, urged councillors to reevaluate their enforcement methods. "The survey obviously shows that damage to neighbours' property is common, but it doesn't have to be that way," Zubot suggested. "The public needs enforcement to prevent and mitigate excavation failures. Complaints down The city also posted its annual infill compliance report for 2019. Overall complaints from residents were down 22 per cent. The number went from 1240 in 2018 to 963 in 2019. Total complaints were registered from residents via 311, transferred from other city departments and from councillors' inquiries. Total tickets given in relation to infill were up three per cent. The report shows that development compliance officers, development permit inspectors and peace officers gave out 455 tickets for violations on infill properties, up from 442 from 2018. Henderson and the committee asked for results from the motion by early next year. "We have to step up," Henderson said. "This has been the problem all the way along. We are going to lose the big picture game because we're unprepared to make the bad players play well." @natashariebe
New South Algonquin Business Association chair Gabriela Hairabedian and outgoing chair Evelyn Lesage made a presentation to South Algonquin Township council on Jan. 13 about the township’s plans for a wayfinding map for visitors. They had some issues with the current draft map and wanted to suggest changes to make it more informative and visually attractive to tourists. They wanted to ensure they had more input on the map as it progresses to completion and also asked council to implement a policy to ensure there’s a feedback process into future economic development projects. The wayfinding map stems from South Algonquin Township’s rebranding initiative, which is being paid for by the Main Street Revitalization funding procured from the Association of Municipalities Ontario. Since the purpose of the revitalization grant was to invest in small businesses and the map itself was proposed by SABA as part of the grant proposal, Harabedian believes that SABA’s input is essential. The township has been working with Placemaking Design since December 2019 on their rebranding efforts, which includes the map. Unavoidably, COVID-19 has slowed this process over the course of 2020, but the initiative is slowly but surely coming to fruition. Hairabedian began the presentation by suggesting that the proposed wayfinding map should cater more toward long-term tourists versus day-trippers. She says that SABA has found that most tourists come from about three hours away and stay longer periods versus those who just come for the day, or day-trippers. While they don’t have any firm data on this, they estimate that less than five to 10 per cent of visitors are day-trippers. “If they have access to a visual map with attractive pictures and where to find those attractions, tourists will consider staying longer in our township and contribute to our economy, instead of going to the park, staying for only one night or having a quick lunch and going home,” she says. On that basis, SABA wanted to request some changes to the draft wayfinding map. These changes were; to remove all businesses and places where tourists would likely not want to go, like the township office and local daycare centres, to focus on natural features like trails, waterfalls and fishing spots, where tourists would more likely want to visit, to have QR Code links on the map to other helpful sources like the township website and trail maps, and to add a scale to the map so people can determine the distance between featured attractions. Hairebedian felt these changes would make the map less cluttered and it would not go out of date as quickly. Finally, she asked council if they could implement a policy that builds a feedback process into future economic development projects. “These decisions affect businesses most of all. We want to be involved and we’d really appreciate if you could do that. Thank you very much,” she says. Mayor Jane Dumas thanked Hairebedian, and said it was a fantastic presentation. “It was very visually pleasing. The work that you and your committee have done is excellent,” she says. She then asked council if they needed any clarification from Hairebedian on the presentation. Councillor Bongo Bongo thought everything had been pretty clear, but was a little surprised to see SABA’s request that all businesses be removed from the map. “But at the same time, I suppose that is one way to really level the playing field and have it very fair towards all businesses. At the end of the day, I really hope this map is well designed and a lot of thought goes into it,” he says. Holly Hayes, the clerk and treasurer of South Algonquin Township, also requested some clarification and asked Hairebedian if she meant that she wanted no private industry like hotels or gas stations on the map. Hairebedian replied that was exactly what she had meant, and that SABA was suggesting just a map to show attractions like beaches, fishing spots and features of that nature. “People can google things like hotels, gas stations, the LCBO easily enough if they need them. It’s nice to have a unique map, something that’s not anywhere to be found. We don’t want to bring confusion either, we don’t want people all over the place. It’s a way to guide them and take them where we want them to go,” she says. As a final suggestion, Hairebedian suggested that since Maynooth and Bancroft appear on the draft map, that they also include Barry’s Bay and Ottawa, so people get a clearer sense of where everything is. Dumas brought up the point that while they appreciated SABA’s suggestions, that council wants to ensure that the final wayfinding map caters to the needs of all South Algonquin businesses and not just to SABA members. She said that she intended to take the presentation back and have a discussion about it at the next economic development meeting on Jan. 20. Hairebedian expressed interest in SABA attending this meeting and Dumas said that she would confirm and let her know soon. “You’ve given us a great deal of food for thought through your committee and we appreciate it very much.” Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times
OLYMPIA, Wash. — Officials in Washington state denied a key permit for a large proposed methanol plant Tuesday, saying the project that aims to send the chemical to China to be used in everything from fabrics and contact lenses to iPhones and medical equipment would pump out too much pollution. A significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions and inconsistencies with the Shoreline Management Act were the main reasons the permit was rejected for the project planned on the Columbia River, the state Department of Ecology said in a news release. The $2 billion Northwest Innovation Works plant proposed in Kalama would take natural gas from Canada and convert it into methanol. It would then be shipped to China to make olefins — compounds used in many everyday products. An environmental analysis done by the state agency found that the facility would be one of the largest sources of carbon pollution in Washington, emitting nearly 1 million metric tons a year within the state, and millions of tons more from extracting natural gas, shipping the product to Asia and final uses of the methanol, officials said. “I believe we were left with no other choice than to deny the permit for the Kalama project," Ecology Director Laura Watson said in a written statement. "The known and verifiable emissions from the facility would be extremely large and their effects on Washington’s environment would be significant and detrimental.” The Department of Ecology last year had demanded additional environmental analysis, saying after five years of planning, its backers had failed to provide enough information about the greenhouse gas emissions and how they would be offset. The company has 21 days to appeal the permit decision. “While we are disappointed by this ruling and evaluating our options for an immediate appeal, we feel confident that science and reason will prevail,” Kent Caputo, attorney for Northwest Innovation Works, said in a news release. The company is backed by the Chinese government and has said the project will create 1,000 jobs and generate up to $40 million in annual tax revenue. The company also has said it would offset any emissions produced directly or indirectly in Washington state. “We volunteered to set mitigation standards that will make Washington state the national leader,” Northwest Innovation Works CEO Simon Zhang said in the news release. “We want to create a model project for Kalama, the state, and the nation.” Gov. Jay Inslee, who once backed the project as a boost to the economy, changed his stance in May 2019 as he signed a bill banning fracking, The Seattle Times reported. Inslee said at the time that he couldn't in good conscience support the methanol plant, along with a Tacoma liquified natural gas project, because they wouldn't accomplish what's necessary to combat climate change. He also said the withdrawal of his support would not affect the regulatory decision-making process. Conservation groups, including Columbia Riverkeeper, the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity, have been steadfast in their opposition. “We can’t keep pretending these dirty fossil fuel projects don’t jeopardize our continued existence by accelerating the climate crisis and destroying essential habitat," Jared Margolis, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a news release. "Thankfully, Washington has stepped up and rejected this monstrosity.” The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has pardoned former chief strategist Steve Bannon as part of a late flurry of clemency action benefiting nearly 150 people, including rap stars and former members of Congress. The pardons and commutations for 143 people, including Bannon, were announced after midnight Wednesday in the final hours of Trump's White House term. THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below. President Donald Trump is expected to pardon his former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, as part of a flurry of clemency action that appeared to be still in flux in the final hours of his presidency, according to a person familiar with his thinking. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations, stressed that Trump has flip-flopped repeatedly as he mulls his final actions, and warned the decision could be reversed until it's formally unveiled. The last-minute clemency would follow separate waves of pardons over the last month for Trump allies, including associates convicted in the FBI’s Russia investigation as well as the father of his son-in-law. It would underscores the president’s willingness, all the way through his four years in the White House, to flex his constitutional powers in ways that defy convention and explicitly aid his friends and supporters. Whereas pardon recipients are generally thought of as defendants who have faced justice, often by having served at least some prison time, a pardon for Bannon would nullify a prosecution that was still in its early stages and likely months away from trial in Manhattan, effectively eliminating any prospect for punishment. Though other presidents have issued controversial pardons at the ends of their administration, perhaps no commander in chief has so enjoyed using the clemency authority to benefit not only friends and acquaintances but also celebrity defendants and those championed by allies. Critics say such decisions result in far more deserving applicants being passed over. “Steve Bannon is getting a pardon from Trump after defrauding Trump’s own supporters into paying for a wall that Trump promised Mexico would pay for,” Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff said on Twitter. “And if that all sounds crazy, that’s because it is. Thank God we have only 12 more hours of this den of thieves.” Trump is expected to offer pardons and commutations to as many as 100 people in the hours before he leaves office at noon Wednesday, according to two people briefed on the plans. The list is expected to include names unfamiliar to the American public — regular people who have spent years languishing in prison — as well as politically connected friends and allies. Bannon has been charged with duping thousands of investors who believed their money would be used to fulfil Trump’s chief campaign promise to build a wall along the southern border. Instead, he allegedly diverted over a million dollars, paying a salary to one campaign official and personal expenses for himself. Bannon did not respond to questions Tuesday. Trump has already pardoned a slew of longtime associates and supporters, including his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort; Charles Kushner, the father of his son-in-law; his longtime friend and adviser Roger Stone; and his former national security adviser Michael Flynn. A voice of nationalist, outsider conservatism, Bannon — who served in the Navy and worked at Goldman Sachs and as a Hollywood producer before turning to politics — led the conservative Breitbart News before being tapped to serve as chief executive officer of Trump’s 2016 campaign in its critical final months. He later served as chief strategist to the president during the turbulent early days of Trump’s administration and was at the forefront of many of its most contentious policies, including its travel ban on several majority-Muslim countries. But Bannon, who clashed with other top advisers, was pushed out after less than a year. And his split with Trump deepened after he was quoted in a 2018 book making critical remarks about some of Trump’s adult children. Bannon apologized and soon stepped down as chairman of Breitbart. He and Trump have recently reconciled. In August, he was pulled from a luxury yacht off the coast of Connecticut and brought before a judge in Manhattan, where he pleaded not guilty. When he emerged from the courthouse, Bannon tore off his mask, smiled and waved to news cameras. As he went to a waiting vehicle, he shouted, “This entire fiasco is to stop people who want to build the wall.” The organizers of the “We Build The Wall” group portrayed themselves as eager to help the president build a “big beautiful” barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border, as he promised during the 2016 campaign. They raised more than $25 million from thousands of donors and pledged that 100% of the money would be used for the project. But according to the criminal charges, much of the money never made it to the wall. Instead, it was used to line the pockets of group members, including Bannon. ___ Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report. Jonathan Lemire, Eric Tucker And Jill Colvin, The Associated Press
Local reactions to the provincial government’s latest lockdown restrictions have been mixed to say the least, and moving into another nearly total shutter on small business operations has many concerned for their future. After Premier Doug Ford announced the second provincial emergency and stay-at-home orders on Jan. 12 in response to alarming surge in COVID-19 cases throughout the province, there was near immediate confusion. Timmins MPP Gilles Bisson said there was a major lack of details from the province. “A lot of people are left scratching their heads, trying to figure out exactly what this staying-at-home order is. The Premier says, ‘I don't believe in curfews’ but he’s doing a stay-at-home order, and quite frankly a stay-at-home order is a type of curfew,” Bisson told The Daily Press. The province's release read that the stay-at-home order was “requiring everyone to remain at home with exceptions for permitted purposes or activities, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for work where the work cannot be done remotely.” Bisson wondered why there was no stringent travel restrictions included in the plan. “I was told there was no ban on travel between regions. So, somebody can go from Timmins to Sudbury or Toronto or wherever. I was also told by the Minister of Solicitor General that if you’ve got to pick up your son or daughter at university and bring them back home, you can do that.” He said the plan is rife with confusion and mixed messages. “The staying-at-home order needs to be clarified. Northerners are prepared to do their bit, but we need to know why government does things, based on good medical and scientific evidence, and make sure that what their orders make sense.” Bisson said he's received lot of calls from constituents over the past few days, critical of the provincial orders. “They’re saying, ‘How come I can go into Walmart and buy something, but I can’t go into my local business and buy the same thing?’ They can provide the same type of security and probably better safety when it comes to COVID, than what Walmart and other large stores are doing. “People are wondering about this stay-at-home order. They’re thinking this is rather ridiculous. If there's a five-person limit on meetings and gatherings, why are we putting kids on buses that have more than five people and putting them in classrooms of more than five people? A lot of people are just very confused.” Bisson said he is also concerned with the recent surge in cases, but this latest approach might not be the right move. “Do we need to do something? Absolutely. But what the government needs to do is be clear about what it is they’re asking us to do — and they’re not doing so.” Loralee Boucher, who operates a hair salon as well as a private party lounge in Downtown Timmins, is very concerned about the next few weeks until a new announcement comes from the province. Hair appointments are not considered essential at this time, which is a massive portion of her income. She has been unable to provide her services since Dec. 26. Her hair salon has been in operation for more than nine years. Her second venture, above the salon, is the Top Shelf Lounge which is a licensed rental space popular for parties and private functions, and sometimes offers live entertainment. It opened in August 2019. Boucher said it has been a brutal stretch for the lounge. “Top Shelf has had a minimum 80 per cent decrease in revenue over the holidays, compared to last year, because I wasn't able to rent it out nearly as much as I did last year,” she said. In the meantime she has been applying for the various assistance programs offered by the federal government. “I applied for the $900 every two weeks, which is what they gave us, online through the government, and then I applied for the grant that they’re offering, somewhere between 10 to 20 thousand,” she said, still awaiting the results. She said it would be a much-needed financial boost. “I’m hoping some kind of funds become available. I own the building. So on a single income, by myself, I have two mortgages, my home and my business. I also have double the bills, two hydro bills, two gas bills, two property tax bills and I have multiple insurances, because you have to have two business insurances, health insurance, you name it; car insurance; my vehicle payment on top of that. “I need to make a minimum of $10,000 a month just to pay that.” Boucher expressed frustration at the blanket approach the feds took with programs like The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). “The government treats everybody like they’re the same, offering everybody just 900 bucks every two weeks. Well how do you explain that I can’t pay my mortgage now, or I can’t get groceries now, things like that off just a tiny amount? For some people, it’s OK, but you’re treating everybody equally and some people have a lot more bills than others to account for.” The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) is a program offered to help businesses and landlords to cover part of their commercial rent or property expenses. “You can apply for a property tax rebate, but the percentage of that is not clear. I guess it’s for them to decide. I know somebody applied for a hydro rebate, and they got $21.” Before the pandemic, her salon was booked full nearly every day. She shudders to think about the total of her lost business. “I’m losing so much money, it’s crazy.” To make it sting a little more, Boucher had also recently made a major investment by adding spa facilities to her salon, including another employee, and some very pricey equipment, only to be shut down a few months later. The only current income is selling some of the hair care products online. “They said they initially closed small businesses to stop the spread of the virus, but after our initial two week shutdown, our numbers went up dramatically.” She realized the blame will be on the holiday season, which is likely accurate, but that it proves some people will gather in large groups regardless of provincial orders, which essentially has nothing to do with small businesses. “Small businesses follow the rules. We don’t want to get closed down. We don’t want to get fines. We wear our masks. We wash our hands. For example, a salon, we’re working one on one. There’s no more risk going into a hair salon than there is going into a grocery store or Walmart.” Boucher said the vast majority of small- to medium-sized businesses have taken the protocols very seriously, and have made the necessary adjustments to their operations in order to be able to provide services safely. “There is no reason why any small business should be shut down, if you’re following protocol. If you’re not following protocol, that’s when you should be shut down.” Boucher said she started a local Facebook group called Outside The Box where small business owners can share ideas, supports, advice on grants, and other initiatives. “It’s all about helping each other. That’s why I created the group in the first place.” Although her online sales have been decent, it is but a small fraction of her standard income which relies on personal appointments. However, she does appreciate the support she is getting and feels a silver lining of this whole thing might be a renewed appreciation for local businesses. “The community has been very supportive. A lot of people are doing their part to support local, so that is a very positive outcome.” said Boucher. Another downtown business and building owner, Matthew Poulin of Total Martial Arts Centre, is irked by the fact his business can’t operate, despite the province stating that people can go out for exercise purposes. “We're actually not sure why. Based on government data, which is on their site, transmission from gyms is under 2.2 per cent and other things that are still open contributed a much higher percentage. Also the restrictions we had in place make us even safer than most gyms. Booking systems, high amount of cleaning daily, 50 per cent capacity for us is 18 people, which is extremely low for a facility of our size,” he said. In the meantime, TMAC has attempted to generate some revenue by opening up some online gear sales. “Currently we’re bringing back our online gym, which isn’t ideal but it’s something nonetheless. Also we will be selling memberships for the online gym too,” said Poulin. He said he has also applied for “as many grants as possible” to keep his business afloat. “Some of our members were able to keep their accounts open with us to support the gym during this time. Really, if it wasn’t for that, we would likely have to close. This second lockdown is scary but we’re confident we will make it through.” Andrew Autio, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Daily Press
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times eastern): 7:15 p.m. B.C. has again extended its ongoing state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 10 months after it was first declared on March 18, 2020. It allows provincial officials to continue using extraordinary powers to combat the pandemic, including enhanced enforcement of public health rules. The Ministry of Public Safety says in a news release that just under 700 tickets have been issued for violations related to public health measures since mid-August. That includes 119 fines of $2,300 issued to owners or organizers who violated restrictions on gatherings and events and 548 fines of $230 issued to individuals who refused to obey law enforcement. --- 5:55 p.m. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says he won't shut down all restaurants and bars because a few are flouting COVID-19 rules. Instead, he says he's asking public health officials to look at more enforcement measures, such as forcing rule breakers to close. Moe says "enough is enough" and is expressing frustration at a recent video that shows young people dancing without masks and mingling at a bar in Regina. --- 5:40 p.m. Alberta is reporting 456 new cases of COVID-19. The province says there have also been 17 additional deaths. There are 740 people in hospital, with 119 in intensive care. There are just over 11,000 active cases. --- 3 p.m. British Columbia isn't getting about 5,800 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that it expected next week. Health Minister Adrian Dix says the province is adjusting its vaccination plans as a result. Dix says the province will use more of the Pfizer vaccine it has in stock to complete immunizations at long-term care homes and to administer second doses. He says second doses are crucial to the success of the program and the province remains committed to giving the second dose 35 days after the first. --- 3 p.m. Premier Doug Ford appealed to U.S. president-elect Joe Biden today for help securing more COVID-19 vaccines for Ontario. Ford expressed frustration about a delivery slowdown of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot that will see Ontario receive no doses next week and thousands fewer over the next month. Ford appealed to Biden to share a million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot, which is manufactured in Michigan. He also expressed frustration with Pfizer executives about the delays and urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to ramp up pressure on the company to deliver more of the shots to Canada. --- 2:50 p.m. Public health officials in New Brunswick are reporting 31 new cases of COVID-19 and one additional death from the disease. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell says the death of a person in their 80s at the Parkland Saint John long-term care facility brings to 13 the number of COVID-related deaths in the province. There are currently 316 active cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick. As of midnight tonight, the Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton regions will join the Edmundston region at the red level of the province's COVID recovery plan. --- 2:50 p.m. Saskatchewan is reporting 309 new cases of COVID-19. Health officials say there are 207 people in hospital and 31 people in intensive care. Six more residents have also died, almost all of whom were 80 or older. As of Tuesday, the province reports giving more than 24,000 vaccine shots. --- 2:35 p.m. The Northwest Territories is still investigating the source of new COVID-19 cases in the territory. Three cases of COVID-19 were reported in Fort Liard over the weekend. There are now more than 50 people in isolation in the community of about 500 in connection with the new cases. Over the weekend, chief public health officer Dr. Kami Kandola put Fort Liard on a 14-day lockdown to prevent further spread. There are four active cases of COVID-19 in the Northwest Territories and 24 recovered cases. The territory has also administered 1,893 first doses of the Moderna vaccine to date. --- 2 p.m. Nova Scotia is reporting four new cases of COVID-19, giving it a total of 22 active cases. One of the new cases is in the province's northern zone and is a close contact of a previously reported case. The other three cases are in the central zone and are related to travel outside Atlantic Canada. One of the cases is a university student who lives off campus and attends classes online. --- 1:50 p.m. Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting zero new COVID-19 infections today. The province is dealing with five active reported cases. One person is recovering in hospital with the disease. The province has reported a total of 396 infections and four deaths linked to the novel coronavirus. --- 1:40 p.m. Manitoba is reporting 111 new COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths. With numbers decreasing in recent weeks, the government is proposing to ease several restrictions on business openings and public gatherings by the end of the week. The possible changes, subject to public consultation, include allowing non-essential stores, hair salons and barbershops to reopen with capacity limits. Another proposed change would ease the ban on social gatherings inside private homes to allow two visitors at a time. --- 1:30 p.m. Quebec Premier Francois Legault is calling on the federal government to ban all non-essential flights to Canada. Legault says he's worried that people travelling to vacation destinations will bring new variants of COVID-19 back to the province. While the premier says it may be difficult to determine which flights are essential, he says it's clear that flights to sun destinations are non-essential. --- 12:45 p.m. Procurement Minister Anita Anand says she has spoken to Pfizer and does not expect any more interruptions to its Canadian deliveries after mid-February. Anand says Pfizer is contractually obligated to ship four million doses to Canada by the end of March. Canada expects its shipments from Pfizer to be larger than previously expected from the middle of February until the end of March to make up for smaller shipments over the next month. --- 12:25 p.m. Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin says Canada will get no doses of vaccine from Pfizer at all next week. Fortin, the vice-president of operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, says this week's shipment is almost one-fifth smaller than expected. That means only 171,093 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will arrive over the next two weeks, instead of the 417,300 doses previously expected. Fortin says the deliveries over the first two weeks of February have yet to be confirmed, but Pfizer is still expected to meet its contractual obligation to ship four million doses to Canada by the end of March. --- 11:20 a.m. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says any Canadians who still have international trips planned need to cancel them. The variants of the novel coronavirus identified in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil could change the situation rapidly and he warns that Canada could impose new restrictions on the border at any time, without warning. --- 11:15 a.m. Quebec is reporting a significant drop in new COVID-19 infections today with 1,386 new cases. The province also reported 55 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including 16 that occurred in the prior 24 hours. Health officials say hospitalizations rose by nine, to 1,500 and 212 people were in intensive care, a drop of five. Quebec has reported a total of 245,734 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 9,142 deaths linked to the virus. --- 10:50 a.m. Prince Edward Island is reporting two new cases of COVID-19 today. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Heather Morrison says the new cases involve a woman in her 40s who is a contact of a previously reported case, and a woman in her 20s who recently travelled outside Atlantic Canada. There are now seven active reported cases in the province. P.E.I. has reported 110 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. --- 10:35 a.m. Ontario is reporting 1,913 new cases of COVID-19 today, likely under-reported due to a technical error in Toronto. Health Minister Christine Elliott says that Toronto is reporting 550 new cases of the novel coronavirus. Over the past three days, Toronto reported 815 new cases, 1,035 new cases and 903 new cases. There were 46 more deaths linked to the virus in Ontario. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said British Columbia expected to get 5,800 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine next week.